Multi-Faith and Belief Chaplaincy, For All Faiths and None

Compassion For Our Times

Compassion For Our Times brought to you by the University Chaplaincy Team.

Under the pressure of the global pandemic we are creating a world in which bike shops are’ essential’, so-called ‘unskilled workers’ are ‘key’, we have almost a national wage, our carbon footprint is reducing, and the UN has called for a global ceasefire. We also know that these new realities are fragile, and are beginning to teeter as lockdowns are relaxed in different parts of the world. When we return to ‘normal’, we mostly agree that we want it to be a ‘new normal, a ‘built back better’ normal, and for this we need compassion - an awareness of suffering and wise steps taken to relieve it.

Black and white doodle of two figures. With the text "This compassion idea... how much will it cost?" The other answers "nothing! Everyone brings their own."

We can show compassion in how we treat our own selves, how we respond to others near and far, and how we care for animals, plants and the planet. And who would argue with the benefits of compassion: happier and healthier lives, more trusting communities, more fruitful work teams, improved patient recovery, improved educational outcomes, flourishing eco-systems, and enhanced capacity to live in peace with ourselves, with one another locally and globally, and with the environment? We are used to playing zero-sum games: competing for educational or healthcare resources, funding, salaries, open space, or clean air - competitions in which some win and others lose. But compassion creates dynamics in which everyone wins. 

There are questions raised about compassion – Is it practical? Is it ‘soft’? Is it naïve?, does it take too much time? does it lead to fatigue? and so forth. In the items posted in these pages we seek to address such questions as they arise.

The Chaplaincy and the Edinburgh University Global Compassion Initiative aims to further cultivate compassion within the University, and in the ways in which University influences the world and works towards the Sustainable Development Goals.